Candler’s Faith and Finance Program will host a two-day conference this spring that turns traditional fundraising models “right-side-up.”

“Giving Freedom: A Right-Side-Up Approach to Church Fundraising” will take place March 22-23, featuring an evening keynote address on March 22 by the Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the 25,000-member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, and author of Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity (Abingdon Press, 2009). Hamilton will speak on “The Fruitful Life” and take questions from the audience following the talk.

On Saturday, March 23, seven leading pastors, authors, philanthropists, and financial experts will share their insights and teach practical strategies for “Giving Freedom” in participants’ congregations and communities.

Conference organizer Justin Latterell, director of the Faith and Finance Program, says the event’s title is intentionally multi-layered.

“The concept of ‘giving freedom’ has a triple meaning for our conference,” he explains. “On one hand, it refers to a different approach to church fundraising that starts not with pledge drives, but with ministering to the personal financial struggles, skills, dreams, and needs of congregants. The second meaning follows from personal financial freedom: those who have financial freedom are freer to give generously to their churches.

“Finally, ‘giving freedom’ means confronting oppression. How can churches turn the world ‘right-side-up’ by responding to a God to who turns the world upside down? How can standing up for the values of fairness, equity, and sustainability advance a church’s fundraising?”

The conference is an outgrowth of Candler’s work through its Faith and Finance Program, an initiative jointly funded by Candler School of Theology and Lilly Endowment Inc. to promote financial literacy among seminary students.

The conference schedule is below.

Friday, March 22, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Adam Hamilton, “The Fruitful Life”
Cannon Chapel Sanctuary
A Q&A session will follow the address.

Saturday, March 23, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

  • Olu Brown, pastor of Impact Church in Atlanta and author of 4D Impact: Smash Barriers Like a Smart Church (Abingdon, 2019): “Everyone Thrives”
  • Mandy Sloan McDow, pastor of Los Angeles First United Methodist Church: “We Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot: Creative Ways to Guide Your Church into Economic Sustainability”
  • Shannaan Dawda, CPA, founder and CEO of True Financial Coaches and author of From Paychecks to Power: 7 Power Moves to Unlock Wealth Building: “Financial Freedom Begins at the Pulpit”
  • Audrey Hindes, pastor of Willow Avenue Mennonite Church in Clovis, California, and author of Faithful Food Practices: A Seminarian’s Guide to Eating with Economy and Grace: “Faithful Food Practices”
  • Kerry Robinson, global ambassador for Leadership Roundtable in Washington, DC and author of Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy, and a Spiritual Call to Service (Liturgical Press, 2014): “Generosity is Humankind’s Birthright”
  • Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri: “Enough is Enough (2 Corinthians 9:8-10)”

Short videos featuring James B. Jordan, a certified public accountant, fraud examiner and chartered global management accountant, will frame Saturday’s presentations. Jordan teaches “Church Financial Management for Clergy” at Candler and is the author of Financial Management for Episcopal Parishes (Morehouse, 2013).

Conference Fees

  • Seminary student (must show current student ID at the door): $10
  • Standard admission: $30
  • Ministry team package (4 registrants): $70 ($18 each)